The Rhizolabs are outfitted with a wide variety of equipment for analysis of the chemical and biochemical processes taking place between microbes, plants and soils and how the intricate interactions between these environmental components influence ecosystem processes and services. The lab is divided into three research facilities including the core Rhizosphere Science Laboratory, the Rhizosphere Imaging Laboratory, and the Agroecosystem Mesocosm Facility. Each of these facilities are described in more detail below.
The Rhisosphere Science Laboratory is the heart of the rhizolab labs and contains bench space along with many core instruments including:
- Nicolet (Thermo-Fisher) 6700 Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Spectrometer
- Dionex Ultimate 3000 High Performance Liquid Chromatographer
- SpectraMax i3 Multi-Mode Detection Platform with MiniMax 300 Imaging Cytometer
- Thermo-Fisher Spectrophotometer 20
- Sherlock Microbial ID System (MIDI) via PLFA
- Microvoid Laminar Flow Hood
- Barnstead Lab Line III Incubator with Barnstead Digital flatbead Shaker
- Miscellaneous Equipment (balances, microcentrifuge, etc)
The rhizosphere is a difficult zone to study requiring the use of specialized equipment and methods to understand the important processes occurring therein. The Rhizosphere Imaging Laboratory was developed to bring to light the hidden half of plants and interrogate these processes using a variety of instrumental formats including:
- Regent WinRhizo root analysis system
- PreSens small (4x4cm) and large (25x25cm) FOV Planar Optode system for determination of the 2D distribution of O2, CO2, and pH
- Rhizolab-designed and built 3D root phenotyping platform
- Gorilla Growbox growth chamber with LED lighting and fixed and shaker-table shelving formats.
- Zymography platform
- Photo booth
Scaling of laboratory-based observations occurring within the rhizosphere at the micron to centimeter scales to understand processes at the field scale can be difficult. Doing so is necessary to confirm laboratory observations and to assess their practical significance. Our way of scaling was to develop the Agroecosystem Mesocosm Facility (AMF) which is the medial step between lab and greenhouse pot studies and the field. The AMF consists of 26, 30 liter drums filled with two horizons (A and B) from soils containing lesser (Sadler soil series) and greater (Maury soil series) phosphorus availability. In each horizon there is a root viewing tube (CID Biosciences Root Imager) for quantifying root growth and turnover. Each horizon has a soil moisture, temperature, and conductivity sensor, and each mesocosm has a collar for collecting soil trace gas measurements (Gasment DX4040).
- Facilities and Equipment Use
Some of the equipment descirbed above can be made available for use by those outside the lab with fees to cover operating and labor costs for technical support. If you are interested in using any of the equipment above, please send a written reqeust via email to Joe Kupper (Lab Analyst/Manager) at firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy to Prof. David McNear at email@example.com.